The bible says that we should always be prepared to evangelize:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect", - 1 Peter 3:15
Imagine if you went to a job interview and were caught off guard by a question such as "Why should we hire you?" Imagine if you had to fumble for an answer. You might be inclined to think that you weren’t going to get the job. More than likely, though, you would consider it wise to prepare in advance for a job interview, to have a polished resume explaining the benefits of hiring you, and to have well-rehearsed answers for the basic questions that are likely to be asked during a job interview.
With this in mind, ask yourself if you believe it would be appropriate to prepare in advance some basic answers to some basic questions, such as "What is the reason for your hope?" or "Why are you a Christian?" or "Why do you believe in Jesus?"
Who should we evangelize to? Jesus told his followers to preach the Gospel to people all over the world. Some of the following bible verses can help us understand the need for evangelism, as well as help us in carrying out the responsibility and privilege of telling people about Jesus Christ.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…Matthew 28:19
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Who ever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned...Mark 16:115-16
And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem…Luke 24:47
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him…John 3:17
Each of these verses tell us that we are not limited as to whom we can evangelize to. The four Gospels are unanimous: We can and should evangelize to everyone, everywhere.
Many of us are eager to do the work of God but are intimidated by the word "Evangelism". There are many ways in which to practice evangelism. Each of us glorifies God first and foremost by exercising our unique calling, the shape of which is determined by our talents given as gifts by God. "If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." Romans 12:6-8
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Words by themselves are not enough, just as actions by themselves are not enough. The way I read this statement is that we have to be truly "walking the walk" in order to earn the privilege of speaking about our faith. To me, this seems like a good recipe for ensuring a healthy balance between evangelism by word and evangelism by example. If we want to speak about our faith to others, our lives have to be saying something loudly enough that someone asks for us to translate.
Denis and I moved to Alexandria to be closer to family in Leesville. We did not know a soul here except our realtor. Our first priority was to find a church nearby where we would feel welcome, be able to worship, and become a part of a church family. We came from a small town in Arkansas and had to commute forty-five minutes to the nearest church. As you can imagine, we did not participate in many activities. We visited a couple of churches in Alexandria and found St. James. It was amazing!
When we walked into the nave and saw those magnificent windows and heard the choir and organ, we were very impressed. After the service, we were greeted warmly by many members of the congregation. When we left that day we felt we had found our church home. Being able to worship with a group of caring and friendly people has made our transition much easier. The Christian message to serve and give hope to all people radiates throughout the church. We look forward to many years at St. James.
We would like to particularly thank Dave and Judy Curry for taking us on as a project. They are fantastic!